Date: 03 Sep 2010

Prevention of Vertical Transmission of HIV in Resource-Limited Countries

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Abstract

Prevention of vertical (i.e., mother-to-child) transmission of HIV is essential to reduce significant HIV-related child morbidity and mortality in developing countries. Globally, pediatric infections comprise about 15% of all new HIV infections each year and virtually all pediatric infections can be prevented by eliminating vertical transmission [1]. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations (revised in 2006) for prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT)1 include a four-pronged comprehensive strategy [2]. Although we acknowledge the critical role that all approaches play in reducing pediatric HIV infection, the focus of this chapter is on strategies that address the third prong: preventing HIV transmission from infected mothers to their infants. Considerable achievements have been made on this front, including many clinical trials demonstrating good efficacy.